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More English in the university administration

English will be increasingly used as an administrative language at the University of Copenhagen according to new guidelines and an action plan

The University Management team has introduced a policy to increase the use of English in university administration, to address the increasingly international university population.

20 per cent of researchers and one tenth of students at the University of Copenhagen come from outside Denmark, meaning the University’s current parallel language policy needs to be strengthened to make administration more accessible to non-Danish speakers.

”One thing is that administrative departments increasingly need to be able to speak English, another that staff members ask for guidelines which make it clear when and where to choose which language for communication: Danish or English,” says Kirsten Busch Nielsen, Dean of Theology and chairwoman of the commission which produced the report on the use of English as an administrative language.

”Until now, we focused on language policy in research and education, but now we’re looking specifically at the administrative functions.”

New Language Guidelines

Under the new language guidelines, Danish remains the primary language at all faculties. However, individual departments and centers can choose between English and Danish as their primary language. All significant information from the University administration and the faculties should be accessible in both English and Danish.

Official university bodies will also need to ensure that where Danish or English is used to conduct the committees’ work, there must be a summary in English of case presentations and meeting minutes for any members who don’t speak the language adequately. This means that Danish committee members can also be provided with a Danish translation if a committee opts to work in English.

”The aim of the policy is to stress that we cannot simply parallel everything in two languages, we also need very clear guidelines to describe when English and Danish are appropriate,” says Busch Nielsen.

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